(Reuters) - Iga Swiatek crashed to a 6-2 2-6 6-4 defeat by eighth seed Russian Veronika Kudermetova in the quarter-finals of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo on Friday.
The top seed, playing in her second match since a fourth-round defeat at the U.S. Open that saw her drop to number two in the world rankings, sprayed the errors around in the opening set as Kudermetova grabbed a double break before going 4-0 up.
Swiatek finally got on board with a hold and looked to mount a comeback but could not prevent world number 19 Kudermetova from taking a set off her for the first time in five meetings.
Kudermetova surrendered the second set tamely, but the 26-year-old found herself ahead in the decider as Swiatek gifted her an early break with a double fault.
The Russian held her nerve towards the end of the contest and finished it off with a superb serve.
Up next for Kudermetova is Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who reached her first semi-final since her run to the 2021 French Open final with a 6-2 7-5 win over fellow Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova.
Pavlyuchenkova's career was derailed last year due to a knee injury that needed surgery, but she battled her way back to peak match fitness on the lower tours before reaching the Roland Garros quarter-finals in June.
"I think the most important (thing) is to be humble and play whatever you can to get back to the level," said Pavlyuchenkova.
"I was just working my way back to this level, trying to get back to the top. Just trying to enjoy, since I'm getting towards the end of my career."
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)